The number of beneficiaries rose by 12 per cent in April this year, the highest increase ever in the past 24 years, and nearly double the next biggest increase.
A report, compiled by the Ministry of Social Development, has assessed the impact of Covid-19 on welfare recipients, and compared it with other recent economic downturns.
It found that, if Treasury projections are correct, and the percentage of the working population on benefits reaches 16.2 per cent, it would be the highest number ever – far eclipsing the rate of beneficiaries during the Global Financial Crisis (GFC), when it was at 12.4 per cent.
It would see the country return to a rate similar during the economic recessions of the late 80s and early 90s.
The real impact will be seen a month or two after the wage subsidies have ended and notice periods have been gone through.